Close your eyes and picture yourself on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Walt Disney World. Can you see the dutiful prison pup holding the jail cell keys? Can you hear the cannons exploding around you? Can you smell that musty water smell?
Disney Imagineers are masters of creating fully immersive attractions and experiences that transport you to another world (or galaxy). A major part of that experience often involves your sense of smell — can you recognize any of Disney’s classic smells?
History of Smells in Walt Disney World
Disney uses a special “Smellitizer” technology to pump evocative smells throughout the parks and resorts that make you feel like you’re fully immersed in the space. Once upon a time, when you walked down Main Street, U.S.A., you could smell fresh baked cookies coming from the Main Street Bakery. We haven’t noticed that sweet cookie smell anymore, but the Main Street Bakery still smells amazing on its own!
Some of the hotels, like Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort pump fresh, welcoming scents through the lobby to invite guests in and make them feel at home. Nothing says “welcome back,” like a clean, fresh hotel! (Seriously. Ask someone how they feel about the smell of the Polynesian lobby in the 80s/90s and be prepared for a LONG excited response!)
Even attractions, like Spaceship Earth and Mickey’s PhilharMagic, engage your senses by wafting familiar scents through the air to accompany their visuals! The classic scene where Alexandria is burning on Spaceship Earth is paired with a smoldering firey smell, while Mickey’s PhilharMagic pumps apple pie and champagne scents through the air as Donald gets into trouble.
Other attractions that utilize Disney’s Smellitizers include Soarin’ Around the World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Journey into Imagination with Figment, It’s Tough to be a Bug, and Flight of Passage! The smells range from delightful (like the tropical beach in Soarin’ Around the World) to disgusting (like the stinkbug smell on It’s Tough to be a Bug).
Although we haven’t seen a full-blown parade in a long time, Disney also incorporates scent into some of their parade floats! When Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade rolls down Main Street, U.S.A. during the holiday season, you can often smell gingerbread as Clarabelle Cow passes by with her tray of cookies, and peppermint as Wreck-it Ralph waves from his gingerbread house! During Halloween, you might even smell the sweet scent of candy when Mickey’s Boo to you Halloween Parade is rolling!
If you’re a scent-nerd like us — good news! Since Disney utilizes SO MANY smells in the parks, there’s bound to be a few overlaps. Say, at places like Bath and Body Works or Target. You know you were waiting for the right time to stock up on those candles. Well, here’s some inspiration!
Smell Disney at Home
FYI we put our noses to the test for this. We sniffed and we sniffed again. We wanted to determine what candles currently in stock in stores really SMELL like Disney World!
Pirates of the Caribbean
This first candle recently had people talking on social media; people are convinced that it smells like the iconic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. We went to smell it for ourselves, and we have to say, it did transport us onto the boats as we pass through the beginning scenes of the attraction!
The candle has notes of crisp autumn air, white driftwood, and a hint of green apple. This is definitely one of those “inspired by” type scents so don’t expect a bromine scented candle here (but TBH, we’d buy that.)! You can buy the 3-wick candle for $25.50 in-store or online (or MUCH cheaper if you hold out for a sale!).
Flight of Passage
We found two close dupes for that refreshing scent on Disney’s Flight of Passage attraction. The first one can be found at Bath and Body Works; it’s called Frozen Lake, and it is available for $25.50.
This 3-wick candle has notes of lavender leaves, cool eucalyptus, and juniper berries! We also found a smaller (and less expensive) Flight of Passage-inspired candle at Target!
We even noticed that some of the reviews can attest to this candle’s similarity to Flight of Passage! Coastal Linen contains scent notes such as linen, lavender, and grapefruit. You can pick up this candle and transport yourself to Pandora for $10!
Mickey’s PhilharMagic: Apple Pie
Remember the “Be Our Guest” scene in Mickey’s PhilharMagic where the apple pie magically spins towards your nose? Now, you can imagine you’re on that fun Fantasyland attraction while you’re at home!
Inhale delicious notes of baked granny smith apple, melted brown sugar, and flaky homemade crust in this $24.50 Bath and Body Works candle! Maybe you prefer the scene with the enchanted Champagne bottles? We found a dupe for that smell, too!
Mickey’s PhilharMagic: Champagne
You can practically taste the notes of bubbly champagne, sparkling berries, and juicy tangerine in this PhilharMagic champagne-inspired candle!
If you’re looking for a more subtle Disney-inspired candle, Champagne Toast might be the one for you! It has a sweet champagne scent that can be enjoyed without the Disney reference. Bring home a 3-wick champagne candle from Bath and Body Works for $25.50.
This next candle won’t take your mind to an attraction, but it might make you hungry for a churro!
We smelled this candle in person, and it definitely smells like a warm, fresh churro. If you like sweet candles, check out this scent from Bath and Body Works! You can find this candle, with notes of ground cinnamon, sugar crystals, and vanilla bean for $14.50!
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Yacht and Beach Club Resort, BoardWalk Inn Resort
OK, this one is a hot topic. Many of Disney World’s hotel lobbies have some incredible scents. A few, in particular, share a very distinct and great smell. You can find loads of people online sleuthing the scents used by Disney but it seems the consensus on this one is the smell is called Green Clover and Aloe. Bath and Body Works USED to make a pretty close match called Rainkissed Leaves but, unfortunately, it hasn’t been released in a number of years (fingers crossed for a return!). If you’re like us, you just can’t get enough of that signature as you walk in the lobby of many of our favorite Disney resorts; it’s so fresh, clean, and inviting!
We found a brand on Amazon selling a very unassuming-looking candle that boasts the same smells as many of the lobbies! It’s a fresh, green, and clean scent that smells great in the home.
If you want to bring the GrandFlo vibes into your home, you can try this candle for $18.99 with Prime shipping!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Clarabelle Cow Float
While we still have a few holidays to get through before Christmas, it’s never too early to stock up on a festive candle that reminds you of Disney! Now, you can be home for the holidays while enjoying that gingerbread smell from the Mickey’s Very Mery Christmas Party parade!
Target’s Gingerbread House candle features sweet, spicy, and savory notes of richly flavored gingerbread…yum!
While this last candle isn’t necessarily an exact match for any scent that Disney pumps into the air, we had to include it for our ice cream lovers!
Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
Vanilla-scented candles are pretty common, but can you ever have too many sweet and delicious candles in your home? Pretend you’re ordering a chocolate chip ice cream cone at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor as you burn this Vanilla Bean candle!
Our final candle comes from Bath and Body Works and is available in-store and online for $25.50.
With that, we can officially conclude our tour of classic Disney scents both in the parks and at your home. If you give any of these scents a try, let us know! We’re currently burning a vanilla-scented candle and imagining ourselves at the Magic Kingdom, how about you?
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Do you have a favorite Disney-inspired candle? Let us know in the comments!